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Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Oct;33(10):2411-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.11.031. Epub 2012 Jan 10.

Development of large-scale functional networks over the lifespan.

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Clinical and Biological Psychology, Institute of Psychology and Education, University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany.


The development of large-scale functional organization of the human brain across the lifespan is not well understood. Here we used magnetoencephalographic recordings of 53 adults (ages 18-89) to characterize functional brain networks in the resting state. Slow frequencies engage larger networks than higher frequencies and show different development over the lifespan. Networks in the delta (2-4 Hz) frequency range decrease, while networks in the beta/gamma frequency range (> 16 Hz) increase in size with advancing age. Results show that the right frontal lobe and the temporal areas in both hemispheres are important relay stations in the expanding high-frequency networks. Neuropsychological tests confirmed the tendency of cognitive decline with older age. The decrease in visual memory and visuoconstructive functions was strongly associated with the age-dependent enhancement of functional connectivity in both temporal lobes. Using functional network analysis this study elucidates important neuronal principles underlying age-related cognitive decline paving mental deterioration in senescence.

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